I am hand piecing. And no-one is more surprised than me! If you had told me at the beginning of 2016 that I would start and finish an English paper pieced quilt (the Daisy Chain Quilt), start a second English paper pieced quilt (the Wagon Wheel Quilt) and then decide to try my hand at hand piecing I would not have believed you. It's all happening.
This is the Carousel Quilt ~ a pattern by Sandra Boyle. I first saw the Carousel Quilt at a local quilt show and immediately fell in love with it. However when I saw that the pattern was written for hand-piecing with paper templates for cutting fabrics and piecing I quickly forgot about it. Then one day I was visiting a neighbor who happened to be working on this quilt and she encouraged me to give it a go. The next day I headed out and purchased a pattern from my local quilt store and I haven't looked back! That was in October of last year ...
Since then I have cut 550+ tiny fabric wedges with a paper template and a rotary cutter, marked a 1/4" seam on all of the edges of every single one of those fabric pieces with a pencil, hand pieced those fabric wedges into quarter arcs, and eventually turned arcs into complete circles/wheels. I have ended up with 17 complete circles; one more than required for the pattern. (The quilt design features four rows of four wheels on a single background fabric, with additional pieced borders and appliqued yo-yo's. The pattern doesn't include a photo of the finished quilt.)
I have really enjoyed the hand piecing. Many of the arcs were completed while I was travelling during the month of November. Not having a sewing machine at my disposal helped greatly to avoid the temptation to sit and machine piece this quilt (which I think is entirely possible). It took a little while to find my hand sewing rhythm, the right needle and thread, but I soon found myself enjoying the process. I may even have been sad to finish piecing the arcs! (I used a Foxglove Cottage Sharps size 10 needle and Aurifil 50 wt thread - the orange spool - for hand piecing).
The next step is to cut out the background fabric and hand piece the quilt top. Right now that feels rather overwhelming, but I am simply going to take it one step at a time. I have already chosen a background fabric - pictured below; a soft floral fabric with a vintage feel by Atsuko Matsuyama.
It has taken 3 months to get to this stage of completion and I imagine it will take me at least several weeks to stitch together the quilt top. I like to set aside my evenings for hand work - hand sewing, paper piecing, or knitting - however the evenings are short, especially in Summer. Time just seems to disappear.
As always, thank you for stopping by,
The Daisy Chain Quilt
The Wagon Wheel Quilt
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